Portland, Oregon has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is nearly 2% higher than the national average. When you isolate for millennials, Portland, Oregon ranks number 1 in both divorces per population and divorces per married. Unfortunately, this makes Portland, Oregon the divorce capital for millennials.
When researchers dug further into the reason for these millennial divorce statistics, it appears that the reason has less to do with the environment and more to do with the age at which couples marry. Couples in Portland, Oregon tend to marry younger than in other cities.
So, what are the primary reasons couples struggle? What tools are younger couples missing that older couples seem to have? And how can a therapist help? Good questions. Let’s tackle them one by one.
COMMON CHALLENGES COUPLE HAVE
There are multiple reasons why a couple seeks therapy. Most of them can be broken into one of three categories; breach of trust, frequent conflicts, and general feeling of detachment. Below are three common reasons why couples seek counseling and how Couples’ Counseling can help.
BREACH OF TRUST
Breach of trust is not always from infidelity or an affair. Trust is a major foundation in any relationship, and it can be weakened by lies and deceptions about finances and emotions, too. It’s hard to have a healthy relationship when we feel betrayed and it can be challenging to heal and move forward. Counseling provides a safe space for both parties to express their vulnerabilities, concerns, and move forward in a constructive way.
UNHEALTHY CONFLICTS (OR CONFLICT AVOIDANCE) GAIN IN FREQUENCY OR INTENSITY
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Relationships involve multiple people who have different perceptions about the world and themselves, with each person having different needs and desires. On top of that, as humans, we’re always changing. Conflict is natural, and necessary, for relationships to evolve. Healthy conflict leads to problem-solving and growth. Unhealthy conflict is often filled with contention, agitation, and leads towards distancing.
There are all sorts of unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict; for some conflict looks like full-blown shouting, others it can be violent, and with others it comes in snide remarks or passive-aggressive comments. Conflicts don’t always have to be direct or aggressive, they can internalize without the other partner even knowing it.
Another unhealthy conflict pattern can be avoidance. Often, the desire to avoid conflict causes people to avoid addressing their problems, and getting their needs met. This coping behavior tends to leave problems unsolved and builds resentment.
It can be concerning when these unhealthy conflict patterns or avoidance patterns increase in their frequency, intensity, or duration day-to-day, week-to-week. New or sudden conflicts, agitation, or irritation can be symptoms of unresolved challenges. Counseling can help identify the root of the conflict and teach coping mechanisms to manage conflict in a healthy way that lead towards growth.
Typically, in healthy relationships we feel open and connected with our partners, and in new relationships this is often the case and feels wonderful. Over time, this may change, and when our partner feels closed-off, withdrawn, or retreats inside their own head, it tends not to feel so good. Typically, we respond to our partner’s disconnecting from us by disconnecting ourselves, creating a major gap in the relationship. Sometimes this can be accepted as a new norm, or lead to resentment, hostility, or ending a relationship. Therapy can help with identifying barriers to openness, connectivity and work with you as a couple to create solutions.
THE GOOD NEWS
While we stated that millennials have the highest divorce rate, they are also adopting couples’ therapy as a solution sooner than earlier generations. In fact, a university study about couples’ therapy reports 51% of millennial couples are likely to seek out some kind of relationship counseling.
DO I NEED INSURANCE TO SEE A THERAPIST?
No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.
If you live in Portland or the Portland area and are in need of Couples’ Counseling,
E-MAIL US OR CALL US AT 503-878-8588 TO SCHEDULE YOUR INTAKE TODAY.